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Chance of winning with two minutes left

Munich, 02-02-2020

With two minutes left to play at the top-of-the-table club, s.Oliver Würzburg had a real chance of winning in a low-scoring encounter at the start of the second half of the season in the easyCredit German Basketball League. However, FC Bayern Munich’s defense proved too strong in crunch time and did not concede any points, with the result that Würzburg went down to a 61:70 defeat in the Audi Dome on Sunday afternoon. “The chance was there, but we didn’t seize it. The eight shots Bayern blocked made the difference,” said Head Coach Denis Wucherer.

Wucherer was not really happy that Munich’s new Head Coach Oliver Kostic gave the former NBA center Greg Monroe a breather on Sunday: “We were looking forward to Monroe. Bayern is far better in getting back to defend without him,” said s.Oliver Würzburg’s Head Coach afterwards. He was not able to call on Felix Hofmann, who had always been in the starting five in the previous four games, but was missing due to an ankle injury.

Yet even without the “Würzburg Warrior”, Wucherer’s players defended with a lot of energy and intensity from the tip-off in the Audi Dome: The home side’s first three attacks ended with a missed attempt from outside shortly before the shot clock ran down. However, Munich’s defense was also on top of its game and, apart from a lay-up by Cameron Wells, did not concede any points for a long period of time. In a classic “game of runs,” it was therefore the home side that was first able to open up a clearer gap because it scored better from beyond the arc than s.Oliver Würzburg in this spell.

Three-pointers by Petteri Koponen at the end of the first period and by Josh Huestis at the start of the second gave Munich a 16:7 lead in the 11th minute. Florian Koch was then the first Würzburg player to get into his stride in offense and, with his side trailing by double digits for the first time (22:12 in the 14th minute), he, Luke Fischer, Victor Rudd and Cameron Wells helped the club from Lower Franconia produce a 13:3 run to tie the scores by the half-time buzzer: 25:25.

Munich initially gained the upper hand again after the break because it was highly alert in defense, blocking another three shots (eight in total) and almost taking Cameron Wells completely out of the game, as a result of which Würzburg’s top scorer failed to get on the board in the second half. The home side pulled 40:29 ahead by the 25th minute. Yet the visitors remained unperturbed by that and hit back with a great deal of confidence after Wucherer had called a timeout.

It was s.Oliver Würzburg’s best spell in offense in the encounter: Jordan Hulls, Florian Koch and Victor Rudd drained buckets from beyond the arc, then youngster Joshua Obiesie added an and one and another three to give Würzburg its highest lead (46:50 in the 30th minute). However, Bayern’s playmaker T.J. Bray reduced the deficit to 49:50, likewise with a three, just before the end of the period.

The final quarter was then almost a carbon copy of the third until two minutes to go: FC Bayern Munich began it with a 15:3 run to capture its third double-digit lead (64:53 in the 36th minute). Yet the visitors also kept in contention in this situation: A bucket by Luke Fischer and one from downtown by Skyler Bowlin cut the gap to 66:60 one minute later.

s.Oliver Würzburg regained possession immediately and had the chance to close the gap further when Jordan Hulls had a completely open three with 140 seconds left, but was not able to drain it. Nihad Djedovic did a better job at the other end on the next attack and buried his shot from outside to make it 69:60 – and seal victory, since Munich then did not give the visitors any chance to shoot and score.

s.Oliver Würzburg now travels to Basketball Lions Braunschweig for its third away game in succession this Saturday (tip-off: 8:30 p.m.). Its next home game is against medi Bayreuth in the s.Oliver Arena on Wednesday, February 12 (tip-off: 7 p.m.).